Requirements relating to basic benefits
See the bold text below:
(a) Provide coverage of, by furnishing, arranging for, or making payment for, all services that are covered by Part A and Part B of Medicare (if the enrollee is entitled to benefits under both parts) or by Medicare Part B (if entitled only under Part B) and that are available to beneficiaries residing in the plan’s service area. Services may be provided outside of the service area of the plan if the services are accessible and available to enrollees.
(b) Comply with—
(1) CMS’s national coverage determinations;
(2) General coverage and benefit conditions included in Traditional Medicare laws, unless superseded by laws applicable to MA plans. This includes criteria for determining whether an item or service is a benefit available under Traditional Medicare. For example, this includes payment criteria for inpatient admissions at 42 CFR 412.3, services and procedures that the Secretary designates as requiring inpatient care under 42 CFR 419.22(n), and requirements for payment of Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Care, Home Health Services under 42 CFR part 409, and Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRF) at 42 CFR 412.622(a)(3).
(3) Written coverage decisions of local Medicare contractors with jurisdiction for claims in the geographic area in which services are covered under the MA plan. If an MA plan covers geographic areas encompassing more than one local coverage policy area, the MA organization offering such an MA plan may elect to apply to plan enrollees in all areas uniformly the coverage policy that is the most beneficial to MA enrollees. MA organizations that elect this option must notify CMS before selecting the area that has local coverage policies that are most beneficial to enrollees as follows:
(i) An MA organization electing to adopt a uniform local coverage policy for a plan or plans must notify CMS at least 60 days before the date specified in § 422.254(a)(1), which is 60 days before the date bid amounts are due for the subsequent year. Such notice must identify the plan or plans and service area or services areas to which the uniform local coverage policy or policies will apply, the competing local coverage policies involved, and a justification explaining why the selected local coverage policy or policies are most beneficial to MA enrollees.
(ii) CMS will review notices provided under paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section, evaluate the selected local coverage policy or policies based on such factors as cost, access, geographic distribution of enrollees, and health status of enrollees, and notify the MA organization of its approval or denial of the selected uniform local coverage policy or policies.
(4) Instead of applying rules in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section, and to the extent it exercises this option, an organization offering an MA regional plan in an MA region that covers more than one local coverage policy area must uniformly apply all of the local coverage policy determinations that apply in the selected local coverage policy area in that MA region to all parts of that same MA region. The selection of the single local coverage policy area’s local coverage policy determinations to apply throughout the MA region is at the discretion of the MA regional plan and is not subject to CMS pre-approval.
(5) If an MA organization offering an MA local plan elects to exercise the option in paragraph (b)(3) of this section related to a local MA plan, or if an MA organization offering an MA regional plan elects to exercise the option in paragraph (b)(4) of this section related to an MA regional plan, then the MA organization must make information on the selected local coverage policy readily available, including through the Internet, to enrollees and health care providers.
(6) MA organizations may create publicly accessible internal coverage criteria that are based on current evidence in widely used treatment guidelines or clinical literature when coverage criteria are not fully established in applicable Medicare statutes, regulations, NCDs or LCDs. Current, widely-used treatment guidelines are those developed by organizations representing clinical medical specialties, and refers to guidelines for the treatment of specific diseases or conditions. Acceptable clinical literature includes large, randomized controlled trials or prospective cohort studies with clear results, published in a peer-reviewed journal, and specifically designed to answer the relevant clinical question, or large systematic reviews or meta-analyses summarizing the literature of the specific clinical question.
(i) Coverage criteria not fully established. Coverage criteria are not fully established when:
(A) additional, unspecified criteria are needed to interpret or supplement general provisions in order to determine medical necessity consistently. The MA organization must demonstrate that the additional criteria provide clinical benefits that are highly likely to outweigh any clinical harms, including from delayed or decreased access to items or services;
(B) NCDs or LCDs include flexibility that explicitly allows for coverage in circumstances beyond the specific indications that are listed in an NCD or LCD; or
(C) There is an absence of any applicable Medicare statutes, regulations, NCDs or LCDs setting forth coverage criteria.
(ii) Publicly accessible. For internal coverage policies, the MA organization must provide in a publicly accessible way the following:
(A) The internal coverage criteria in use and a summary of evidence that was considered during the development of the internal coverage criteria used to make medical necessity determinations;
(B) A list of the sources of such evidence; and
(C) An explanation of the rationale that supports the adoption of the coverage criteria used to make a medical necessity determination. When coverage criteria are not fully established as described in paragraph (6)(i)(A), the MA organization must identify the general provisions that are being supplemented or interpreted and explain how the additional criteria provide clinical benefits that are highly likely to outweigh any clinical harms, including from delayed or decreased access to items or services.
Basis for medical necessity determinations
(c) Medical necessity determinations and special coverage provisions—
(1) Medical necessity determinations.
(i) MA organizations must make medical necessity determinations based on all of the following:
(A) Coverage and benefit criteria as specified at paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section and may not deny coverage for basic benefits based on coverage criteria not specified in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section.
(B) Whether the provision of items or services is reasonable and necessary under section 1862(a)(1) of the Act.
(C) The enrollee’s medical history (for example, diagnoses, conditions, functional status), physician recommendations, and clinical notes.
(D) Where appropriate, involvement of the organization’s medical director as required at § 422.562(a)(4).
(2) Exception for qualifying hospital stay. MA organizations may elect to furnish, as part of their Medicare covered benefits, coverage of posthospital SNF care as described in subparts C and D of this part, in the absence of the prior qualifying hospital stay that would otherwise be required for coverage of this care.
(d) Special cost-sharing rules for MA regional plans. In addition to the requirements in paragraph (a) through paragraph (c) of this section, MA regional plans must provide for the following:
(1) Single deductible. MA regional and local PPO plans, to the extent they apply a deductible as follows:
(i) Must have a single deductible related to all in-network and out-of-network Medicare Part A and Part B services.
(ii) May specify separate deductible amounts for specific in-network Medicare Part A and Part B services, to the extent these deductible amounts apply to the single deductible amount specified in paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this section.
(iii) May waive other plan-covered items and services from the single deductible described in paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this section.
(iv) Must waive all Medicare-covered preventive services (as defined in § 410.152(l)) from the single deductible described paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this section.
(2) Catastrophic limit. For each year beginning on or after January 1, 2023, MA regional plans must do the following:
(i) Establish a catastrophic enrollee MOOP amount for basic benefits that are furnished by in-network providers that is consistent with § 422.100(f)(4).
(ii) Have the same MOOP type (lower, intermediate, or mandatory) for the catastrophic (in-network MOOP) limit and total catastrophic (combined in-network and out-of-network expenditures) limit under paragraph (d)(3) of this section.
(3) Total catastrophic limit. For each year beginning on or after January 1, 2023, MA regional plans must establish a total catastrophic (combined in-network and out-of-network expenditures) enrollee MOOP amount for basic benefits that is consistent with this paragraph (d)(3).
(i) The total catastrophic limit may not be used to increase the catastrophic limit described in paragraph (d)(2) of this section.
(ii) CMS calculates the total catastrophic limits by multiplying the respective in-network MOOP limits (before the rounding rules in § 422.100(f)(4)(iii) are applied and after application of the 10 percent cap on increases to the mandatory and lower MOOP limits from the prior year in § 422.100(f)(4)(iv) and (v)) by 1.5 for the relevant year, then applying the rounding rules in § 422.100(f)(4)(iii). The dollar ranges for the three total catastrophic MOOP limits are as follows:
(A) Mandatory MOOP limit. One dollar above the in-network intermediate MOOP limit and up to and including the total catastrophic mandatory MOOP limit.
(B) Intermediate MOOP limit. One dollar above the in-network lower MOOP limit and up to and including the total catastrophic intermediate MOOP limit.
(C) Lower MOOP limit. Between $0.00 and up to and including the total catastrophic lower MOOP limit.
(iii) An MA organization must establish the total catastrophic MOOP amount (mandatory, intermediate, or lower) within the dollar range specified in paragraphs (d)(3)(ii)(A) through (C) of this section for purposes of paragraph (d) of this section and §§ 422.100(f)(6), (j)(1), and 422.113(b)(2)(v).
(4) Tracking of deductible and catastrophic limits and notification. MA regional plans are required to track the deductible (if any) and catastrophic limits in paragraphs (d)(1) through (3) of this section based on accrued out-of-pocket beneficiary costs for original Medicare covered services, and are also required to notify members and health care providers when the deductible (if any) or a limit has been reached.
(e) Other rules for MA regional plans.
(1) MA regional plans are required to provide reimbursement for all covered benefits, regardless of whether those benefits are provided within or outside of the network of contracted providers.
(2) In applying the actuarially equivalent level of cost-sharing with respect to MA bids related to benefits under the original Medicare program option as set forth at § 422.256(b)(3), only the catastrophic limit on out-of-pocket expenses for in-network benefits in paragraph (d)(2) of this section will be taken into account.
(f) Special needs plan model of care.
(1) MA organizations offering special needs plans (SNP) must implement an evidence-based model of care with appropriate networks of providers and specialists designed to meet the specialized needs of the plan’s targeted enrollees. The MA organization must, with respect to each individual enrolled, do all of the following:
(i) Conduct a comprehensive initial health risk assessment of the individual’s physical, psychosocial, and functional needs as well as annual health risk reassessment, using a comprehensive risk assessment tool that CMS may review during oversight activities, and ensure that the results from the initial assessment and annual reassessment conducted for each individual enrolled in the plan are addressed in the individuals’ individualized care plan as required under paragraph (f)(1)(ii) of this section. Beginning in 2024, the comprehensive risk assessment tool must include one or more questions from a list of screening instruments specified by CMS in sub-regulatory guidance on each of the following domains:
(A) Housing stability;
(B) Food security; and
(C) Access to transportation.
(ii) Develop and implement a comprehensive individualized plan of care through an interdisciplinary care team in consultation with the beneficiary, as feasible, identifying goals and objectives including measurable outcomes as well as specific services and benefits to be provided.
(iii) In the management of care, use an interdisciplinary team that includes a team of providers with demonstrated expertise and training, and, as applicable, training in a defined role appropriate to their licensure in treating individuals similar to the targeted population of the plan.
(iv) Provide, on at least an annual basis, beginning within the first 12 months of enrollment, as feasible and with the individual’s consent, for face-to-face encounters for the delivery of health care or care management or care coordination services and be between each enrollee and a member of the enrollee’s interdisciplinary team or the plan’s case management and coordination staff, or contracted plan healthcare providers. A face-for-face encounter must be either in person or through a visual, real-time, interactive telehealth encounter.
(2) MA organizations offering SNPs must also develop and implement the following model of care components to assure an effective care management structure:
(i) Target one of the three SNP populations defined in § 422.2 of this part.
(ii) Have appropriate staff (employed, contracted, or non-contracted) trained on the SNP plan model of care to coordinate and/or deliver all services and benefits.
(iii) Coordinate the delivery of care across healthcare settings, providers, and services to assure continuity of care.
(iv) Coordinate the delivery of specialized benefits and services that meet the needs of the most vulnerable beneficiaries among the three target special needs populations as defined in § 422.2 of this part, including frail/disabled beneficiaries and beneficiaries near the end of life.
(v) Coordinate communication among plan personnel, providers, and beneficiaries.
(i) All MA organizations wishing to offer or continue to offer a SNP will be required to be approved by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) effective January 1, 2012 and subsequent years. All SNPs must submit their model of care (MOC) to CMS for NCQA evaluation and approval in accordance with CMS guidance.
(ii) As part of the evaluation and approval of the SNP model of care, NCQA must evaluate whether goals were fulfilled from the previous model of care.
(A) Plans must provide relevant information pertaining to the MOC’s goals as well as appropriate data pertaining to the fulfillment the previous MOC’s goals.
(B) Plans submitting an initial model of care must provide relevant information pertaining to the MOC’s goals for review and approval.
(C) If the SNP model of care did not fulfill the previous MOC’s goals, the plan must indicate in the MOC submission how it will achieve or revise the goals for the plan’s next MOC.
(iii) Each element of the model of care of a plan must meet a minimum benchmark score of 50 percent, and a plan’s model of care will only be approved if each element of the model of care meets the minimum benchmark.